Date: June 18, 2014
Takeo meets with Daisuke and Taiki at Hokage's Lookout. While there, the two elder shinobi advise the young Jinchuuriki of the path laid out for his future, as well as when he may begin leaving the Land of Fire on missions once more. He is also well advised of threats not only from without, but from within.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Determining Takeo's Future"
Takeo's been waiting for a chance to barge in on his guardian and sensei's inner sanctum, and today, the guards finally gave in. The young man does have the right to see his teacher, after all. He heads up to the Hokage's office and pushes the doors open, looking as charmingly unkempt as ever. Hair raggedly cut, his chosen uniform covering not much above the waist and certainly exposing his stomach.
"Hokage-sensei," Takeo says by way of greeting, looking at the desk with the expectation that Daisuke'll be barricaded behind towers of paperwork. He gives a faint bow before he carries on, hands balling up and fists resting upon his hips. "Are you busy? Figured I should come and let you flay my skin off now, rather than before you hear about me and Isobu from someone else. That, and I'm to be learning things."
Taiki is about five minutes behind Takeo actually, with both of his ninken in tow. They pause to nod at the guards and the secretary before confirming that the Hokage was, indeed, in, and receiving visitors. He waves off the guards from announcing him though, as he's been here enough that people should know precisely who he is, after all. Though the guards don't warn him about Takeo being in there. He knocks, the opens the door as the scent of the jinchuuriki tells him the smells he noted were recent for a reason. He pauses for a few seconds, then shrugs and walks in, bowing toward Daisuke. "Hokage-sama," he says before turning his head and nodding it in Takeo's direction. "Takeo-san," he says normally. Well… normally for him anyway.
Daisuke looks over to his new student and protege as Takeo finally makes it by his guards and smirks. "It seems you are as eager as ever, Takeo-kun." he comments as he sets aside the scroll he was reading to save for later. "I have a brief meeting but you can stick around as long as you behave." he says to the young Inuzuka before the knock comes at the door.
"Hello Taiki, come in." he says as he motions for Taiki to take a seat. "Takeo was just eager to get some chakra control training in, so please excuse his presence. I trust he will behave properly like all students, former and future, would." he assures the Inuzuka clan head with, giving a look to Takeo.
"Whatever you want, but I sprouted my first tail," Takeo says, baiting Daisuke as he's set aside in favor of politics (among his least favorite things). The young man's put the worst card down on the table and now steps aside after a respectful nod to Taiki. There's no doubt some convenient piece of furniture he can perch upon, a cabinet or table. Anything other than an ordinary chair, of course.
Takeo then remarks, as he itches his right ear with his pinky finger, "I always behave myself. It's an Inuzuka tradition."
Takeo's presence causes Taiki to actually pause for a moment as he reformulates what he's about to say. Since the topic of this discussion was supposed to be Takeo, having him present represents a slight dilemma for him, but he mentally shrugs it off and glances toward Takeo as he promises to behave like an Inuzuka. "No marking the furniture," he says with a mock-stern face toward the genin.
The joke responded to, he turns his attention back to Daisuke and decides on a way to approach this. "Yes, I had heard that you took him as a student after the seal was applied," he starts, as he gives Daisuke his full attention. "I am honored that you would take such an interest in one of my family. To be honest, since that event I find myself unsure of what to train him in myself, since he has explained to me that all of his knowledge of Inuzuka clan styles has gone away. That, combined with his ninken abandoning him has left me rather… uncertain about what we as a clan can teach him. Though I am trying my best to curb the negative responses to his new situation. After all, he's performing a great service to the village."
Taiki shrugs and inwardly frowns at talking about Takeo as if he's not even there, but still there's no other way to state it without coming across as Atsuro, and that would raise alarms if he tried that. "You must be very knowledgeable about jinchuuriki. Even my medical studies produces little in the way of information, other than on a couple of sealing techniques and how to handle chakra poisoning."
Daisuke looks over to Takeo for a moment before nodding his head, "Don't rush too fast towards the goal alone, Takeo-kun. The path is rife with danger for all." he says, giving advice to the eager Inuzuka before making sure he was settled in. Takeo's Inuzuka comment gets a smirk from the Hokage, knowing both he and Atsuro too well to agree to the validity of that remark.
As Taiki brings up Takeo's situation, Daisuke nods his head as he listens carefully. When Taiki is finished, Daisuke is left smiling. He is sure Taiki has heard rumors and remarks around town as to the Hokage's own situation, but he is proper enough to keep whatever he has heard, if anything, to himself. "When we lost our former host, and my former student, to the chakra parasite, we found ourselves in need of a new host to help strengthen the village and give some kind of vindication to what Nara Kaito had been doing for Konohagakure. Takeo here volunteered himself and was found to be a suitable fit." he begins to explain to Takeo. "Being the nephew of Hashiramako, the only shinobi in history known to be able to control Tailed Beasts and tame them, I have picked up a few tricks of my own. I wouldn't call myself a master of all Tailed Beast knowledge, but I feel that Takeo's success rate in the life he has chosen will increase dramatically with me guiding him down the appropriate path."
Daisuke sits back before he speaks again, this time directly to Taiki. "I will apologize for keeping such information from you until the time was right to reveal Takeo back into the world. If it were in my control, he would still be training and keeping everything to himself instead of going around trying to explain everything to the villagers and clans. I believe you both have seen how citizens feel about Tailed Beast hosts." he says, not using the word he had come to feel insulted by, Jinchuuriki, on purpose.
Takeo shakes his head once at Daisuke. "There wasn't any rush about it," he says. "Isobu and I spoke face to face, so to speak. I told him that I wanted us to get along, one way or another, because I'd given up too much for anything else to happen. We made a deal. He'd open his chakra to me so that I could defend Konohagakure, and in return, I'd call him by his true name and never treat him as a tool to be used. People are afraid of his rage, but I'd be pretty predicted too if I were hated, locked up, and passed around and used like a weapon." He extricates his pinky claw from his ear and notes, "Oh, right. I know what the hated part feels like."
When next he holds up a hand, it's covered in a claw of Isobu's shell, which falls apart and disintegrates as he shakes his wrist. "When I lost all of my knowledge of the Four-Legged Style, Isobu gave me that, instead. However, the extent to which I can manifest it equals my control over the tails. I told him that I'd be stopping at one for a while, though." A pause. "He's not so bad, the big turtle. Not as angry as the others, from what I've heard of them. I find myself being offensively … philosophical, thoughtful." He says the words as if they were more foul than praiseworthy.
Lastly, Takeo gestures toward Taiki and rolls his shoulders back. "I don't think he much cares what you did or didn't tell. He told me that he'd never abandon me, and that he'd always be with me. Lots of heroic stuff like that." He brandishes his fangs in a bit of a grin. "Besides, I'm sure there's still things I can learn, and I need a team eventually. That, and there's gonna come a day when I can't hide in the Land of Fire any longer. Might well need the brave Taiki-niisan to guide me."
Taiki listens carefully and attentively to what Daisuke has to say. He gives a slight grin at the end of the Hokage's short speech, not missing by far the lack of j-word mention. Then again, Taiki is very good at picking up nuances like that. He nods again to signal the point has been received, though his suspicions are far from allayed. It might not hurt that Takeo all but told him directly of his Hokage's status. To him it really doesn't matter, other than to increase the amount of respect that Taiki holds for Daisuke. After he waits for Takeo to say his piece, Taiki shrugs. "While advanced warning would have been beneficial, I understand the need for secrecy, especially when talking of bijuu and their hosts," he replies.
Taiki shakes his head and smirks as he realizes that Takeo gave him the perfect opening on more than one front. "I also wish it were just the civilians amongst my clan. They would be easier to handle than old veteran warriors who can't see the family for the seal. I had to punish Kato more as political message to them than any sense of indignation. Do not get me wrong, my sense of indignation was real enough," he says while looking directly at Takeo. "I care not what he smelled, partners are supposed to have more trust and loyalty than that."
Taiki takes a deep breath and turns back to Daisuke. "I assume much of your information is clan secrets then, so I won't ask. I will ask that I be allowed to monitor his condition, nothing invasive at all, so that if he needs treatment there will be someone amongst the medical corps that can provide it. The only person I would trust with that besides myself is Nara Usagi. But if you wish, I won't tell her much, if anything."
"As you can see, Takeo likes going around discussing his Bijuu and everything he does with anyone and everyone. It shouldn't be too hard to get his whole life story at this rate." Daisuke says with a shake of his head. "If there were only a few things I would hope he would adopt from you, Taiki, it would be to show restraint, appropriateness, and a bit of secrecy." Daisuke says as he looks at Takeo with 'a look.' He turns back to Taiki and nods his head, "You can feel free to give him anything you feel he needs in terms of training, Taiki. My role is to keep him on the path towards a day where he can walk his own path without harming people unintentionally." he explains to the Inuzuka leader.
Daisuke turns to Takeo and says, "If Taiki is going to train you in helpful techniques and life lessons, you will need to be ridiculously well behaved. Your actions not only reflect you, as an Inuzuka and a Tailed Beast host, but everyone who help and train you. Is that something that would interest you?" He looks at Takeo curiously as he waits for an answer from the boy.
Takeo lowers an eyebrow toward Daisuke as the Hokage makes his initial remarks. "I've never been appropriate. That was plenty known when I was asked to become Isobu's host. I was still a very good Chuunin, though," he argues. "As for secrecy, why keep secrets from my family? There's no shame in what I did, and there's no shame in Isobu. When he has a mind, he's more than a beast. I won't treat him like one. If you mean keeping my mouth shut around enemies, I'm not /stupid/."
The question posed thereafter has him looking between Daisuke and Taiki as if he'd been put on the spot. He drops a clawed hand downward to indicate the other Inuzuka as he says, "He already tells us he isn't sure of what he could teach me anymore. Depends on where he wants to take it. I've been working on my Water ninjutsu lately, but I figure I should learn to harness some of this Bijuu chakra, too. Isobu's giving me plenty of it for Konoha's sake, after all."
Taiki nods once to Daisuke's wishes about restraint, tact, and secrecy. "I learned early that the less you let be widely known, the less that can be then used against you. When one is hunted by master infiltrators, one learns to guard what comes out of his or her mouth. The walls have ears, eyes and noses, and sometimes its better to keep even family in the dark."
Taiki listens to Takeo speak for a moment and then sighs, closing his eyes. "Though I hope to have removed all dangers of being monitored from our clan compound, I'm not foolish enough to think that I have. To this point, let me tell you a short story," he says as he regards Takeo. "Once upon a time, about twelve years ago, there was a young boy of the Founder's Clan. He was regarded as a little odd, given that he preferred to be around the Beta's more than his own clan, but considered mostly harmless. One day, for no reason readily apparent at the time, that changed. Despite his status as the son of the Founder's Clan Heir, he became outcast, abused, and severely injured when he was going to enter training by his own uncles. The love for his family was used against him, and he quickly learned to hide what he was, all because he preferred ninjutsu to taijutsu. Soon after becoming genin, he became hunted by the Recluse. Yes, the same group that our clan has problems with now."
Taiki pauses for a moment, then glances over Daisuke before continuing. "The entire clan turned against him. But he perservered, and won respect, eventually becoming the man you see before you today," he says, indicating himself. "So when I become furious over your treatment, you now know why. But my point for this story is this: I would not have survived by announcing my activities to everyone. We had agents for the Recluse in the clan, and they would have used that information to kill me if they could. Yes, even family members can betray you. The point is knowing who you can trust."
"I would appreciate you passing such knowledge onto Takeo so I can focus on control." Daisuke says to Taiki with a nod. he settles in while Taiki tells Takeo of his own experiences related to the issue, looking over to the young Inuzuka to see if it is having an effect at all. After Taiki is done, Daisuke sits back up straight in his chair and turns to Takeo. "While Taiki might not share any similar ninjutsu or skill sets with you, an older, more experienced ninja always has something to share. Let me help you with your chakra, and let Taiki help you with developing your status as a great shinobi for our village." he says to Takeo, hoping the boy would take Taiki up on his offer.
Daisuke turns to Taiki and addresses him on another issue while he awaits Takeo's answer. "How is Atsuro fairing within the Inuzuka compound? I hope his job here hasn't kept him from his duties there? Leave it to him to bite off more than he can chew."
"Well, there's one more reason in your story for me to worry," Takeo comments on that. "I'm getting to learn more ninjutsu than taijutsu, especially when Isobu took away what I'd trained in." He claps his hands together and slowly begins to work them against each other, speaking almost through his teeth. "You need to understand that there are times when I need to talk. Nobody warned me of the full extent of what I'd be going through, especially now, in the early times. Isobu and I get along, I think, but that doesn't change that his gift's also an incredible burden. I'm a Chuunin with more chakra trying to flow through him than some of the great masters. Isobu's angry at the world just like his kin, too, and I can feel it. More timid, wise, but still angry. Part of survival, part of control, means getting it out."
He shifts a bit upon the table he's picked to address Daisuke with a clawed index finger pointed. "If you want me to agree to terms like that, I still get to have a little undisciplined fun. I practically can't get drunk anymore, but I'm still allowed to try. I can still spar, still get laid, still wander around in the forest. I want to be on a team and do missions again. I'm tired of hiding in the village like I'm some inept student again."
Having his future laid out for him has never sat well with Takeo, but he's trying despite his temper to handle it. He looks between both of the older men as he says, "Taiki-niisan still hasn't said how he can train me, and you haven't explained how he'll know to teach me about controlling the Bijuu's chakra in useful ways."
He furrows his brow at Daisuke's words, powerful chest rising as he draws a heavy breath. Finally, he simply says, "Fine, but I want to be put to use again."
Taiki nods once to Daisuke's plan. "That sounds good, though I may have an answer to your taijutsu issue. In developing my elemental four-legged styles, I borrowed some from the more common versions of elemental taijutsu. I can help you in developing your own suiton taijutsu, based upon your advantages. Though in this case, I would have to defer to Daisuke-sama on how fast you go. Beyond that, teaching miscellaneous shinobi skills that are of use off the battlefield is definitely within my abilities. Most of the rest of your training, especially in ninjutsu, will come from the Hokage, though I am available for reference in the ninjutsu arts I'm versed in," he says as an asside to Daisuke. "In the meantime, a public link to me may help keep the worst of the hot-heads of the Inuzuka at bay. There are few in our clan that would dare take me on, physically, politically, or otherwise."
"What Taiki said." Daisuke says to Takeo with a smile. "He summed it up beautifully. And in terms of taijutsu, he would definitely be more useful than I am." he says, crinkling his nose in displeasure as Takeo brings up crude information like his sex life. Hopefully something else Taiki can work with him on. "But… and this is non negotiable… you need to at least gain another measure of control before I send you anywhere. You are making good progress, but you are not ready for if things get out of hand, and they always do when you least expect it." he says in a firm voice to Takeo. "Is that agreeable?" he adds, raising an eyebrow curiously to the young boy.
"I have taijutsu. At least, I'm starting to. It's taking time, but I'm turning Isobu's shell into something useful." Once again, Takeo puts the claw on display, but it manifests almost instantly as he thrusts it forward. It'd be a very effective first strike, or perhaps a counterstrike. "That's not where Isobu wants me to go right now, though. He keeps telling me something about Kaito." Tapping a finger against his temple as the shell crumbles away, he seems to echo, "Waves. He says that Kaito commanded the waves, and that's where Isobu's greatest power is. I'm not Kaito, I've told him that, but he thinks it's important that I learn that ninjutsu. Did I ever mention that he talks to me in my head all day? People think I'm crazy because I keep forgetting I don't have to answer out loud."
Once again, he takes in a deep breath, closing his eyes as he exhales slowly. "As long as /my/ terms are fine, I'll go along with it," Takeo decides. "It's a little late to pull Isobu outta me and find someone else, so I think it's fair to let me have my pleasures. You want it announced that Taiki's my sensei now and you're not, then we can do that. I'll play along like a good pup and do what he wants, listen to what he wants, so on. I already had my fun with him anyway." He brandishes his canines at Taiki in the form of another grin, albeit fleeting. He's supposed to be behaving, here.
Taiki blushes slightly and shakes his head. "I don't think announcing that I'm your only sensei would be necessary. It would be enough to say that I'm guiding you along principles in proper Inuzuka traditions. Not to be unmodest, but traditions is one thing I'm well known for in the clan, for both breaking them and upholding them. Either way, you have to know what they are in order to do either. It's more my interest in your well-being that we're going for here, at least publicly." He then nods in deference to the claw thing, noting that he at least has that. "Though not to put too fine a point on this, but it would be beneficial, politcally, to have you at least show some public interest in taijutsu, even if it isn't your main focus. That way you don't alienate the neutrals."
He then looks to Daisuke and says, "Atsuro is doing well, though I have a feeling he's going to want to 'advise' me on the Kato issue at some point. His irreverence toward clan ideals works well for him in this case. I'm seen as a progressive after all, so they expect someone with "new-fangled" ideas to be my advisor. But it's ironic that you mention his tendency to bite off more than he can chew." Taiki simply grins at that, almost chuckling at the ammunition Daisuke provided him.
"Aye, he did. But it is important for both you and Isobu to realize that you are not Kaito. One day I will sit down with him as well, when you are feeling lost or stuck, and catch up on old times. I am sure he is just as saddened by Kaito's passing as I was." Daisuke muses, not in his usual cheery voice. "Regardless, what you do with 'the ladies' or what have you is your business. I don't plan on taking that away. And you can have more than one sensei, young Takeo. No one said I was giving you up to Taiki." he explains to Takeo as Taiki hammers the point home by touching on it as well.
"Deep down I think Atsuro is secretly a workaholic. He would never admit it to anyone, but he does a good job of whatever he is given, and seems to accept a lot of work for someone who does his best to make sure everyone knows he is supposed to be lazy. I'm glad he is doing well in the Inuzuka compound as well." Daisuke says to Taiki with a smile. "If dates of importance ever conflict, please let me know with some notice and we can work out 'sharing' him."
"Atsuro was the first one to accept me once I came out from sanctuary. He just sat down and ate lunch with me, and he wondered where I'd been for a month. Some elder cousins worry," Takeo remarks. "He never batted an eye. I like him. Good man, good family." Seldom does he express affection, so that's high praise coming from him. "Anyway. Isobu knows I'm not Kaito. That was the first thing he said when I decided to sit down and talk directly to him. At the same time, he thinks I have potential, and he's … Well, I can't say he's not as foreseen as his kin, but he's calm too. Wise in his way. I know to be cautious, but I also don't entirely ignore his advice. He seems to think this Wave ninjutsu's very important."
He then drops his head in the opposite direction, his grin rising and falling at Taiki's blush. "I'll be a good and fine student, just as I was for Uncle Katashi. You just have to learn how to talk to me, which means not having a stick up your …" Tongue caught. Behavior, Takeo, behavior. "A-heh. If you don't think it'll freak them out, then maybe I'll work harder on this shell taijutsu I've been playing around with. What he says has to come first, though, because I'm going to go crazy if I stay a Chuunin locked in the village much longer." With that, he points at Daisuke.
"Greater control. That means another tail without losing it, right? Isobu certainly isn't holding back, and you /both/ control chakra. Maybe that's where your training methods both come to use. That aside, I'm sure Taiki-niisan can teach me some things beyond stories and traditions. I don't mistake him for some weakling or anything like that. So, fine. Deal. I'll stick with it, but I get to have my fun and I get to have a few friends I can trust with this. They already know, so I'll just keep it to them."
Taiki nods once to Daisuke and grins. "I just find it ironic that his most-often heard criticism of me is that I do too much myself. Between many and varied duties as Clan Head, both inside and outside of the Inuzuka, I'm a senior medic nin and leader of Team Eye of the Storm, which consists of myself, Uchiha Hinotori-san and Nara Usagi," he responds, going into detail for Takeo's sake more than Daisuke's, who already knows who is on his team. "So to hear him called a workaholic is fairly amusing to me, in an ironic sort of way. Don't get me wrong," he says as he turns to look at Takeo, "Atsuro is a wise man, and very good at what he does. He wouldn't be my advisor if he weren't. But I don't hire yes-men." He then looks back to Daisuke and nods. "If a scheduling conflict comes up, you will know when I know."
Taiki then looks back to Takeo and laughs. "Not having a stick up your projection, is that what you were about to say?" he asks the chuunin. "Didn't you hear? I was born with that stick up there… it's a genetic anomaly particular to the Founder's Clan. Me, I'm just a bit more formal than most, but believe me when I say, you have not seen uptight until you see some of my cousins from the Founder's Clan in action… or council members for that…" He then shrugs and says, "And don't worry, I'm not going to attempt to keep you from your… past times. Inuzuka are irreverent after all, it has something to do with us walking on the wild side, so to speak."
"Atsuro was my first friend." Daisuke says to Takeo, the hidden importance behind the sentence being what he was perhaps lost on others besides fellow Jins who experienced the social outcasting that came with it. "So I can vouch for him and for you to be able to feel safe talk and getting help from him. He is one of few people I don't mind you spilling your secrets to, but your friends are another story. Just choose who you talk about Isobu with, is all I ask." To the interaction between Takeo and Taiki, Daisuke just chuckles and shakes his head lightly.
Takeo hops down from the table and rolls his shoulders back, heading for the door. "Right then. Seems you two have everything figured out, and I've agreed to play along," he says. "I'll try and put some more focus on developing that taijutsu form, just to keep the clan at ease, but my priorities are very much split. When I allow myself to wield Isobu's power, it's not my body that gets stronger."
He stops alongside Taiki and turns his head to look the man in the eye. "You're my Clan Head, and now you're another sensei. That doesn't mean you're not my niisan, though. I'm still going to treat you like it, even if I agreed to respect the lessons." Over his shoulder, he says to Daisuke, "You're the Hokage, so of course, I'll do what you've said too. You got me through my first month of this, and I'm not ungrateful. It's just coming time that I learn to walk on my own two feet."
As he heads for the door, Takeo remarks, "The great Daisuke and Taiki teaching me, plus Atsuro, plus the wisdom of my friends. I think I might be hearing Jounin Takeo in my future. Maybe Hokage Takeo." Not at an angle to be seen, but he smiles broadly nevertheless.
Taiki nods and shrugs. "No, I'm just a cousin trying to watch out for you," he says simply. "And I'm in a rather unique position to do so, at least within the Clan." He understands the rest. After all, he did mention that Inuzuka were a wild, rowdy bunch after all. If one didn't have patience, one got no-where. He shakes his head as Takeo gets ready to leave, then looks toward Daisuke. "Unless you have anything else for me, I should be going myself. I have… plots to work on." He then bows toward Daisuke, and assuming the Hokage doesn't stop him, he leaves.